The road to your dreams

shop signageI don’t think I’ll ever forget the first real sign I saw.

Well, I’m sure it wasn’t the first sign I saw, that would be almost impossible. In today’s climate, it would be almost impossible to grow up without any exposure to signage of any time. But I remember the first sign that I saw that really stuck with me.

It was about milk. I know that may not seem very interesting, but something about the composition and design just grabbed my attention. I made me really think about milk. I’m not sure if I could even read at that point, but I connected the cow with milk in my head, or so my mother tells me. To be honest, being so young, I don’t really remember that much about the aftermath. Only the experience of seeing the sign itself.

As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to be in some kind of marketing/design area when I got into the workforce. The older I grew, the more determined I became to make a splash. To change the face signwriting forever. To become the greatest signwriters Melbourne has ever seen.

So, after getting a solid qualification under my belt, I spilled out into the world as an adult and found no one would hire me. I needed a portfolio – a portfolio I didn’t have. I’d done a couple of different designs as projects during my course, but none of that was going to be directly applicable to a marketing type scenario.

And that’s where I’m up to now. I need a job, but I haven’t got any real experience under my belt. I don’t even know where to start, in a design company or looking at smaller-scale shop signage. Melbourne is such a big and wonderful place, so full of opportunity. Sometimes it all feels a little overwhelming.

Putting a good spin on a bad day

window frame repairsI have to be honest here, when I woke up this morning, I honestly thought today was going to be a waste of my time. It was just laid out as one of those kinds of days, you know? Appointments here and there that I was going to have to drive between – honestly, it looked like I was going to spend the majority of my day in the car. In addition to all the driving, I was going to have to deal with a bunch of traddies, which is normally difficult to say the least.

All of that was why I was so pleasantly surprised when things started to turn out well. To kick the day off, I met with one of the leading timber windows specialists in Melbourne. Not only was he friendly and engaging, but his expert knowledge and manner-of-fact way of describing the job at hand made the conversation not only bearable but genuinely enjoyable. I left feeling as though he was not only fully qualified for the job, but trying to think of other people who might have a similar problem so that I could recommend him to my friends. I’m serious. You don’t forget quality of service like that. It was truly impressive.

Meeting with who I now consider to be the best window repairs man in Melbourne really turned my whole look on the day around. I felt like I had already done something extraordinarily productive, and that put in a good mood for what was yet to come.

My attitude had done a full 180 and I found myself driving off to my next appointment with a smile on my face, and that attitude made all the difference. It’s like my mum always said, i you put out good energy into the world, good things come back to you.

Passion for interior decorating

interior decorating MelbourneI just went to a wonderful seminar put on for all the year 12 students at my school, in which we were told to try to combine our passions if we could. So if you were into mathematics but also being creative, choose something like architecture. If you loved animals and the outdoors, be a park ranger. If you liked…I don’t know, mechanics and being social? There’s probably something for that. Maybe working in a call centre for people having trouble with their cars.

For me, combining my passions is a bit more complicated. I LOVE interior decorating, always have. I want to bring property styling to Melbourne in a way never before seen, dressing up people’s houses to make them sell like a dream, just to live in also like a dream.

But then, my other passion is setting fire to things. It’s not immediately obvious from the seminar whether it’s always a good thing to combine your passions, so I’m forced to assume that there may be exceptions. Like, what if you were into swimming and electronics? Unless you can be a pioneer in the field of waterproof hairdryers, those may not mix so well. And then drying your hair underwater just seems counterproductive, somehow.

Getting back to interior design and setting fire to things, I’m struggling to see the overlap. If you’re trying to sell a home and you call in someone to do property staging  to give the place some flair, they don’t often mean an actual flare setting things ablaze, as visually interesting as that is. I suppose if you have a fireplace, I can help you out there. I could just go around recommending fireplaces, because they’re really nice and you can set fire to things inside them. But then, I wouldn’t be much good at property staging if all I ever recommended was fancy fireplaces. Maybe I have a third passion that goes better with immolation…?

Harry the Hammer, Teaching You Fabrication

It’s funny to think of how I was inspired, all those years ago. There used to be a lady who travelled around schools, dressing up like an otter and teaching children about the dangers of bullying and also the environment. I can’t quite remember how she balanced the two, but I can say for sure that it was truly a compelling case. For a brief time, this woman was my hero.

Then I left school, still thinking on how she used her showmanship to teach valuable lessons to impressionable children, and I thought…why not? There are more issues than just bullying and the environment. So many more. I picked one I was particularly passionate about- in this case, welding and fabrication, because it runs in the family- and established The Welda-Van. I even got a few  Melbourne companies that do marine fabrication to sponsor me, because after all, part of my message was that kids should be going home and telling their parents to get welding and fabrication done. I have some graphic close ups of poorly-welded beams to really hammer in that message.

To my surprise, my schedule quickly filled up as parents began to rave about my wacky, fun, informative lessons. I try to cover a wide breadth of subjects, including the application of steel beams, how to be safe in a welding construction site and my showstopper: Sizzle, Molten Core! I also throw in a little bit about smelting, hence why I ordered a full-size hammer costume to how in dramatic motion exactly how the process works. His name is Harry. Harry the Hammer (or just Harry for short).

Things are going great. Kids are learning why marine fabrication is great and not just a boring thing their parents tell them to do, rod holder sales are way up and I think I’m making a real difference. Next up I’m going to tackle stainless steel snapper racks. It’s a tough subject, but I think the higher primary ages can handle it.


Keeping Up the Cleaning Discipline

Melbourne upholstery cleaningLiving alone + cleaning. Not really a combination for success. I also don’t have that many guests, and that tends to make everything just a little bit, uh…less than optimal, in terms of productivity. I mean, you can’t let it get to the point where there’s some rotting food behind the fridge and you don’t care because you’ve grown so incredibly used to it that it just smells normal. That way when someone does visit, or worse, your parents, they can’t even stay. I haven’t grown that bad, though I have a few guy friends living together who have. I can tell you, house calls in the stench pad are no fun.

So I’m trying to make myself more proactive when it comes to cleaning. I have schedules, phone reminders, anything that’ll annoy me into cleaning. I’ve even resolve to splash out a bit, because if I’m going to be living alone for a while, I might as well develop SOME house-pride. There are businesses in Melbourne that do upholstery cleaning, which is a pretty extreme step for a single guy, but…my mother taught me better than to just let my furniture wear out. I earn a pretty good wage, so I can afford to splurge a bit. And we’re not talking ‘gaming/clothing/GF’ splurge. This is something that concerns the cleanliness of my actual living space. It’s pretty important.

Oh, and once I’ve had the upholstery cleaned, sitting on my sofa and chairs will be like floating on a fresh-smelling cloud, just like when I bought them. Wait, no…they were second hand. Okay, I’ve never experienced that, but it’s what I’m imagining. Delicious cleanliness that you can actually feel.

What else? Fabric cleaning, steam cleaning. But with actual steam, not just something I can get done myself with a vacuum cleaner. Wait, am I actually becoming house-proud…?


Beauty How You Like It!

I don’t consider myself political, but sometimes I just can’t stand by. And this is a hashtag. I’m a millennial, and hashtags are my absolute jam! I have no choice but to get involved!

So yeah, you know all about people who say that girls should look good for themselves and not for guys, whatever…I get that, I sympathise and I’m not about to ignite the whole debate again. But there’s another one doing the rounds on Tweeter, and that’s #youbeauty.

Sounds fine, right? It’s just a sort of Australian expression, ‘you beauty!’, what you say when something good happens. But lately, people have been using it to attack girls who get beauty treatments, as a bit of sarcastic slander. So they might gather outside a place in Melbourne that does dermal fillers, or some other beauty treatment, and actually chuck stuff at women going in like some kind of psychopathic movement. How could they be so nasty to their fellow humans? I don’t know, hashtags are weirdly powerful like that. You could tweet something like #kickpuppies and if you have enough enthusiasm you could get people all across Melbourne kicking innocent puppies. Of course, where puppies are involved there might be a storm of objection, and rightly so. But humans? Nope, they can deal with the harassment…and besides, they should know better than to get a beauty treatment. What very strange logic, but when people consider themselves activists there’s not much you can do to make them see sense. Because activists are always right, apparently, even when they’re making people miserable.

At least the hashtag doesn’t seem to be working all that well, and is even producing the opposite result. Helped by the hashtag #beautyifuwant, which says that people can have beauty treatments where and whenever they dang well please without being judged. Just when you think humanity has let you down, they snap right back, gather outside people in Melbourne and Ballarat who do eyebrow tattooing and chuck stuff right back. Ah, activism.


Bags of the Police Procedural

seal-able evidence bagsI always look forward to Saturday nights. I’m no party animal, so unless I’ve been invited out to a quiet gathering or a wedding or something, I’m always on the sofa, snacks in hand, teapot full of tea and ready to watch all my favourite shows back-to-back. Bless whoever made the scheduling so perfect.

It used to be that I watched Fantasy first, but now that’s taking a break, so I now start off with Superhero Show. Oh, those superheroes and their character dramas! Almost like their tangled love lives are more important than absolutely everything else! Yeah, so then I move into Real People of Reality House, about a bunch of real people living in a real house. But get this: everything is filmed. Crazy!

And then, my favourite of all: Police Procedural. From the moment I see that evidence bag I get excited, because it means crazy stuff is going down. The thing about Police Procedural is that it bends the rules sometimes, but you always get the impression that they’re doing it for good reasons, to enhance the policing experience. Those police men and women get up to some crazy things, for sure, and all of it in this tiny country town. How and why do people still live there when at least five people are murdered every week? At least the murders are always solved, but that part has always baffled me. Then again, it’s not quite like Quaint English Murder Drama, where the slayings are even higher. Sometimes I catch that when Police Procedural is on break, but I like the Aussie police dramas more.

I’ve even become an expert of sorts on tamper evident seals, the proper handling of evidence and so much more. My friends sometimes come to me for advice, so you can really see the benefits of watching too much TV. Not that I watch much for the rest of the week, so it’s fine.


Me, The Missus and the Mobile

hair removal BendigoI just love dates where a person stares at their phone for the whole time. Honestly, I try to do something slightly romantic since we’ve just had our one year anniversary- got to keep those romantic flames burning, right?- but all the passion has gone. Or maybe it’s all just being directed at her phone screen, ever since that game came out. You know the one, they’ve been making memes about it for weeks now.

I even surprised her with a voucher, because I know how much Ivy loves her cosmetic tattooing. In Bendigo, the places that do that kind of thing aren’t too numerous. Usually she has to go into Melbourne, and even then she hasn’t really found one place she keeps going back to. But I don’t think that voucher is ever going to get used, because she’s totally hooked on fighting monsters, gathering magical beauty droplets and making her RPG party more beautiful than ever before. Maybe I should’ve gotten her a voucher or something. Then she could’ve purchased the MEGA ULTRA FABULOUS BUNDLE OF RADIANCE, which comes with all these beauty treatments she can give to her characters. That’s the main way they win battles, I think- the monsters in the game won’t attack someone if they’re too beautiful, or at least they won’t go for the face. That’d be marring the perfect visage. So…yeah, I guess I can get that.

I can’t actually see Ivy’s visage, because she’s always buried in her phone. Doesn’t even seem to realise that I’m there, except to excitedly tell me that the boss she just defeated had a voucher for laser hair removal. Uh, great. Remember the voucher I got you for that? No? I guess she’ll get over it, just like all fads. Or I can start playing myself and get my own back. Yeah, I’ll have my OWN laser hair removal, in Bendigo. See what she thinks of that, if she looks up from her phone…


Beauty Tips From Gorgeous Internet People

I LOVE beauty bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and loggers (those are the ones that write really elaborate letters and send then out to a subscription list). I just can’t get enough of this beautiful art. And did you know that beauty therapy predates both agriculture and food preparation? It’s true! I caught that little fact on one of Broella’s fact videos, which he puts up on Fridays. Broella has more subscribers on Me-Straw than anyone else, and he’s a true inspiration. He’s just so authentic, like one of us! He has a dog, he plays guitar and he likes that show about small horses. Sure, he’s also a multi-millionaire from all his endorsements, but we all have to make a living, right?

Oh, and I heard a rumour on the grapevine that Broella himself did a beauty therapy course somewhere in Melbourne. I live in Melbourne! And my uni actually has some kind of beauty course available, even though it’s not super famous, so it might have been here! Just imagine, Broella coming to my university…SWOON! If he’d been in my class I just wouldn’t have been able to concentrate. His eyelashes are so thick and luscious, and as he keeps reminding us, all you have to do to get that look is use Gina’s Super-Fab Eyelash Lotion™ every morning and evening. It hasn’t really done much for me, but I’m sure I’m doing it wrong.

Ugh, I so wish I could do a diploma of beauty therapy…it’s my life, for real. Mum and Dad are making me do something sensible, but there are always gonna be speech therapists. Who needs them, anyway? Speaking is one of the easiest things ever; you can do it from what, like, two years old? Beauty therapy takes time. There’s no course in speaking, but there IS an entire diploma of specialist makeup. What does that tell you? I’ll be a world-famous beauty vlogger one day, you’ll see. And then Broella and I will collab, and hook up behind the scenes, and my life will be complete, squee!!


Standard Roses For A Standard Date

standard roses for saleIt seemed so cliché but every person I had spoken to advised me to do it. Taking roses to a girl. It is the classic sign of romance but is also the classic sign of, I have no idea what I am doing and saw this in every movie I have ever watched. I did it anyway. I took it a step further though because I ordered the roses online. In the movies they always buy them from a florist on the corner of a road and have a casual chat about the lucky lady receiving them. I bought roses the modern way, I clicked and entered my banking details and hoped in exchange I would receive romance. My dating experience is limited, if you hadn’t already guessed that. As soon as the roses were delivered I regretted my decision. The roses themselves were beautiful but I just wasn’t the kind of guy that gave a girl roses, seeing them in all their glory confirmed this. So I did what any self-pitying non-dater would do, I took the roses to my mother. I did not tell her the backstory and of course, made out that I had indeed bought the roses with her in mind all along. She told me if I put half as much thought into a girl then I may not be perpetually single. Oh Mum. I told her I did actually have a date coming up and I was just going to be myself and see if that was good enough. She assured me it was plenty good enough. A few days later on my way to meet the girl I passed a florist on the corner of a road and what sign was hanging outside, standard roses for sale. The world was slapping me in the face. I bought some, and told the florist they were for my girlfriend and he winked at me just like they do in the films. Lord help me.